Monday, November 9, 2009

Birth and Running One Hundred Miles

Last week, the focus of one of my midwifery classes was risk. One of the readings I found very interesting. It compared the challenges in sport to labour and birth. The following are excerpts from one of the readings:

“I’m feeling so bad, I’m wanting to vomit, I’m so cold. I was struggling. I can’t stand it anymore and I’m crying and I just want to get out, and I’ll look at them (her support team) and I’ll say ‘I want to get out!... My mum and dad never come on the support boat because my Mum says that if she saw me suffering she’d have me pulled out of the water. She can’t stand to see me in pain, so I know she’d be useless. You do need that person, that team, who are going to be able to say the right things at the right time – somebody who can put your focus back into your intention – be your strength when you need it!”

-Tammy, marathon swimmer

In this birth story, the woman’s supporters played a vital role in her birth, similar to Tammy:

My contractions were much stronger and I was very proud of how I was handling the pain. Several hours later, I had forgotten my romantic images and was kneeling in the tub howling and screaming from the depths of my soul, convinced that the pain was too much to bear. Not that I got any sympathy – instead I was showered with reassurance, love and incredible strength from the energy and wise words of those who were present to witness and support ... they showed me strengths I never realised I possessed.

The pain was becoming unbearable, or at least I had decided I wasn’t strong enough to do it this time. I looked around at my three carers searching their eyes for any hint of sympathy – an admission that what I was attempting was impossible and I could therefore give up now. But no, their eyes betrayed no doubts but gazed back steadfast and confident.”

(Reiger K, Dempsey R. Performing birth in a culture of fear: an embodied crisis of late modernity.)

As a midwife, I can only hope that I will be able to say the right things to women to remind them how strong they are and that they can continue through the pain, as was done with me when I had my kids.

I am expecting the Haliburton 100miler to be very similar to birth in a way. There will be pain, I will be tired, and I will most likely entertain thoughts of giving up (and will probably be fantasizing about an epidural too!). I just need to remember what I’ve done and I’ll be able to finish (barring any unforeseen circumstances).

I am going to have an awesome support team. Kelly will be with me. I can’t imagine anyone better than her. She’s one of the strongest, most positive women I know. And she knows her stuff being one of those athletic types (and smarty pants teacher). She won`t feel sorry for me.

So I`m not too sure where I`m going with this, but having those kids of mine was the beginning of a new life for me. Not just in being a mom, but their births was proof that I can do anything I put my mind to. I`m looking forward to the journey ahead.

Hundered Miler in 2010. Sounds like a plan Stan!

1 comment:

  1. You don't need to be coy, Roy, but I think we need to start a support group for those of us training for our 1st HF100. :)